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What is a Digital Eco-System?

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When we think about an eco-system we often imagine natural settings. We think of water, soil, plants, and animals all working together to create a sustainable system - each relying on the others. They’re able to stand-alone and can be beneficial by themselves, but together they create something much bigger and can support more than they could individually.

The same can be said about a digital eco-system. A digital eco-system is an environment where programs are interconnected and interact with each other to complete a common goal. They rely on connectivity to accomplish hard and often complex tasks. The better connected these programs are, the better the eco-system.

Sounds simple, right?

But we often forget how many of these interconnected programs we use on a daily basis. When we ask Alexa to turn on music or to play Netflix – we are using a system of software programs that are connected to each other and working together. As you may already know, sometimes these eco-systems don’t work perfectly. That’s because the programs were not built together, which can cause disruptions in connectivity – to our annoyance.

Whenever PSP sets out to build or improve our software, we have our own digital eco-system in mind. We build our programs to work together and connect seamlessly in order to make your life easier.

Our website builder, Dreamersi, has settings to easily add your blog, connect your social media, or build/add forms into your website. These programs work interdependently with each other to achieve a shared goal: effortless connectivity for our customers so they can focus on the real task at hand – running a successful business.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #Marketing #Dreamersi #WebHosting #Software

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Respecting Cultural Differences in Management Styles

Respecting Cultural Differences ...
In the U.S. time is money, so if a small error is made at work, or a minor miscalculation, oftentimes, it’s easier and more cost-effective to move on without investigating what went wrong. If it’s inefficient to struggle through troubleshooting, or if it costs more money than the problem is worth, we typically brush it off.

The same philosophy does not apply in Japan, especially in business. In Japan, if you make a mistake, the mentality is to investigate and learn from the mistake, regardless of its magnitude. The time it takes to figure it out may cost more than the actual mistake itself, but the Japanese place a high value on reducing errors and inefficient processes.

For example, in a retail store, if there is one dollar missing in the cashier’s drawer, many retailers here would say, “Don’t make the same mistake,” and move on. Because it would cost the business more than that missing dollar to figure out what went wrong. This is assuming the mistake won’t likely be repeated. But in Japan, although the cost to figure out a 100 yen (or one dollar) shortfall in the drawer may cost the company way more than 100 yen to figure out, it’s important this mistake is analyzed, learned from, and the process improved.

An improved process eliminates what the Japanese call “muda,” meaning “uselessness, futility, wastefulness,” and many companies, including Toyota’s well-known Total Production System (TPS), have adapted to a management system that eliminates such muda. The idea is for a streamlined process that eliminates any obstacles getting in the way of progress.

In the end, how you view muda is based on your own business values and processes. When working with international business partners, however, it’s best to keep an open mind. After all, my way of doing things is not the only way, and your way will probably be very different. But if we can respect each other’s unique process, observe and learn from each other, we’ll be a lot better off in our business relationships.
#PSPinc #Blog #SmallBusiness #Marketing #BusinessEtiquette #InternationalBusiness #GlobalBusiness #BusinessPartners #InternationalEtiquette

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Gift-Giving Etiquette for International Business Meetings

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Gift exchanges are very common in Japan. We already discussed the types of gifts you can give in a previous blog. But let’s go a little bit deeper and discuss how your gift may be received. For example, when you give a gift to an international business partner, it may not be opened in front of you. And that’s okay. It’s not a sign of a disrespect, it’s a cultural difference.

For the recipient of your gift, not opening it in front of you is a way of being polite and respectful. Some people are more Westernized and understand the difference in cultures, so they may ask if it’s okay to open the gift in front of you when they receive it.

You will also notice they won’t rip the wrapping paper. It’s considered rude if you rip it apart. Instead, they carefully open the wrap, unfolding the sides.

If you are the gift recipient, you might be surprised at how much effort went into putting your package together. Presentation is a very important piece of Japanese culture, so your gift box was probably wrapped and then placed into another nicely decorated bag before being carefully handed over to you.

When you consider the fine presentation of food at a Japanese restaurant, it shouldn’t surprise you how much effort goes into wrapping a gift. The presentation in itself sends an important message to the recipient.

Knowing this, here’s a word of advice when receiving a beautifully wrapped gift from your international business partner: don’t rip through the paper! And if you’re giving a gift, don’t toss it across the table. Wrap it up nicely and hand it over delicately. The extra effort will be appreciated!
#PSPinc #Blog #SmallBusiness #Marketing #BusinessEtiquette #InternationalBusiness #GlobalBusiness #BusinessPartners #InternationalEtiquette

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A Visitor’s Guide to Public Transportation Courtesy in Tokyo

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Visiting Tokyo requires some patience for navigating through a complex train and subway system, but once you figure it out, it’s actually very orderly. With the upcoming 2020 Olympics, Tokyo has been preparing to host the international crowd with directions and signage printed in English. This should help visitors, but we also want to hand out some advice on how to be a considerate traveler, which is important in Japanese culture.

Here’s what to know before you go to Tokyo:

Don’t block escalator traffic. One side of the escalator should be open for those who wish to rush up or down the stairs. If you’re standing still, keep to the left side in Tokyo, and stand on the right side in Osaka. Don’t ask me why it’s different, but the most important piece to remember is DO NOT block the side where people are walking/running up the steps!

Be patient, not pushy. The locals know to orderly stand in line before the yellow lines as they await their train. Follow their lead. Japanese trains arrive every few minutes, so even if you miss one, you will most likely be able to catch one soon after. Do not get pushy or cut in line.

Follow train etiquette. Don’t block the path for those who are getting off the train. Let them come off first before getting on the train.

Be quiet. Keeping quiet on the train is important etiquette so you should not engage in a loud conversation. Don’t talk on the phone. It’s better yet to sit silent while you’re on the train.

No drinking or eating. You will notice how clean it is in Tokyo. People don’t litter in the streets or the trains, and it’s considered rude to eat on commuter trains and subways. If you’re on the express trains and bullet trains, you will have tables where it’s okay to consume your food and drink.

Be seated properly. Don’t spread your legs, cross your legs, or leave your bag on the seat next to you. Seating space is limited so be sure to share it with others!
#PSPinc #Blog #SmallBusiness #Marketing #BusinessEtiquette #InternationalBusiness #GlobalBusiness #BusinessPartners #TravelEtiquette #InternationalEtiquette

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Dining Out with your International Business Associate

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Sometimes going out to dinner can bring us closer in our business relationships. Oftentimes, this social aspect is a critical part of doing business beyond the conference room discussions. But what are the unspoken rules of how to wine and dine with an international business partner?

For example, is it rude to drink the entire sake each time they come and fill it up again? Or is it rude not to finish your sake, taking only sips at a time? More than likely your international business partner won’t tell you their customs, so you’ll be stuck with your own judgement.

Fortunately, we’re here to help with the food and drink etiquette:

In Japan, they make sure your glass is filled with a drink so if you finish it, you will likely get another pour into your glass. To keep your wits, don’t drink the entire glass and keep it somewhat filled. After all, getting drunk is not a smart way to get acquainted with your new business partners. But, when it comes to food, Japanese people would be offended if you left food on the plate, suspecting you didn’t like it. They believe in cleaning their plate, so be conscious not to order more than you can consume! In China, on the other hand, it’s not good to clean your plate. It’s believed you didn’t get enough to eat.

In Korea, they say cheers with words translating to “bottoms up” and they really mean it. If you are the guest and a toast is given in your honor, you’re most likely expected to drink it all. There are underlying social hierarchies where the most senior person is responsible for pouring. Be considerate of respecting the elders and senior business associates, but try to pace yourself. If you don’t want to keep accepting the drinks, you may consider offering to pour for others.

Just because we, Japanese, Korean and Chinese people, are all “Asian,” doesn’t mean we have the same customs. Do your research before dining out with your international business partners.
#PSPinc #Blog #SmallBusiness #Marketing #BusinessEtiquette #InternationalEtiquette #DiningEtiquette #InternationalBusiness #GlobalBusiness #BusinessPartners

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Thoughtful Ways to Impress your International Business Partner

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Commuter trains are so packed in Tokyo that people are almost on top of each other. In fact, they are so overcapacity that people are pushed into the train by the station itself. It’s a strange but everyday reality in Tokyo for many business people. And even though they are packed in shoulder to shoulder, they don’t acknowledge one another.

What’s interesting is when it comes time to meet another professional, having a good amount of personal space is very important. In Japan, people feel uncomfortable being hugged. They normally don’t shake hands, and prefer to stand at arm’s-length distance. If you take a step closer than that, you might make your business partner feel uncomfortable and you may be seen as unprofessional. So, a good tip is to respect the personal space and watch where you stand, especially for a first meeting.

A great way to connect without getting too personal is by giving a small gift. Gift giving is common way to warm up the relationship in Japan. Consider a small but thoughtful gift like something local to your business or home state. It’s not the price or value of the gift that counts, but rather the thought of choosing the gift that communicates your thoughtfulness.

When gift giving, be sensitive to the business your partner is in. Obviously, don’t give Starbucks coffee beans to a company who sells coffee beans, or golf balls to a golf ball manufacturer. In Japan, people even pay attention to the related companies or business partnerships, so they make sure not to give a gift that would come from a competitor brand.

We previously discussed how language barriers may be challenging for your international business communication, but these unspoken ways of communicating can help make a great first impression.
#PSPinc #Blog #SmallBusiness #Marketing #BusinessEtiquette #InternationalBusiness #GlobalBusiness #BusinessPartners

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Be Sensitive to Business Partners Who Speak English as a Second Language

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Sometimes people speak literally, and other times you have to read between the lines to find the deeper meaning in someone’s communication – even when you speak their native tongue. The “Americanized” English dialect with its slang and hidden connotations in words can be tricky for someone who speaks English as a second language. You have to remember your international business partner is translating your words from their language of origin, so there could be some bumps in communication. The more you understand that, the better off you’ll be in conversation.

For example, here are a couple examples out of Japan:

Don’t take maybe as yes.

In Japan, people try to be polite - too polite even - so they may not want to offend you by saying no straight to your face. Instead, they may say, “We will consider it and get back with you,” or “Maybe, but we would need an internal assessment first.” Even if it feels like it could be a yes, don’t assume it is.

The easy English mistakes.

In English, if you ask, “Isn’t this true?” the answer you’ll get if it’s not true is, “No, it isn’t true.” But a Japanese person would instead answer, “Yes, it isn’t true.” They are accustomed to saying yes or no to the statement itself, implying that “yes” means “correct.” So in their mind, your statement about “it is not true” is correct, and they will respond, “Yes, it isn’t true.”

If you’re not sure you’re understanding your business partner’s English correctly, politely restate it back to them for clarification, or put it in writing to confirm. Communicating in English can be challenging, so let’s work on making things easy for those who speak English as their second language.
#PSPinc #Blog #SmallBusiness #Marketing #BusinessEtiquette #InternationalBusiness #GlobalBusiness #BusinessPartners

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Conference Room Strategy: How to Seat your International Business Guests

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When you walk into a conference room for a meeting, how do you choose where to sit when there isn’t assigned seating?

There is a bit of strategy involved when picking a seat in the conference room. Before you grab just any seat, you might want to think through the purpose of the meeting first. That goes for all meetings, but particularly for meetings with an international business partner.

In Japan, there is an etiquette to where you sit depending on who you are (your position, your involvement in the meeting, etc.). If you are the host, sit closer to the door; let your guests sit at the head of the table, which are the chairs furthest inside the room.

In certain meetings, sitting all the way inside may not be practical and convenient, so you let the most important guest sit in the center of the table.

Questions to consider:

What is the purpose of your meeting?
Are you planning to use the whiteboard or the monitor?
Who are the main players in the meeting?

Try not to scatter people around the table for no reason, but you can break with tradition if there is a good strategy behind it. Where you place yourself at the table and how you present yourself can be a move in your favor, so give it some consideration before your guests arrive.

You might want to study up on your guests before they arrive and understand their roles. The more you know before they enter the room, the better impression you and your business will make. And it’s not a bad idea to have seating assignments prepared ahead of time. After all, a good first impression can set the tone for a successful international business meeting.
#PSPinc #Blog #SmallBusiness #Marketing #BusinessEtiquette #InternationalBusiness #GlobalBusiness #GlobalEtiquette #BusinessPartners

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International Greetings: The Proper Way to Bow to your Business Partner

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“Hey, how are you doing,” is an acceptable form of greeting often used between American business people alongside a handshake. But, if you think that’s an acceptable greeting for your international partner, think again.

In Japan, we don’t shake hands, but rather bow to greet each other. We bow like Americans shake hands. It’s hard to explain how to bow, but the thing to remember is if you rank lower than the person in front of you, you bow deeper.

Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to a professional greeting in Japan:

- With feet and legs together, stand up straight.
- Stand up to bow if you’re seated.
- Don’t stand in a higher place when you bow.
- Keep your hands out of pockets.
- Bow at about 45 degrees.
- Men, keep arms and hands to the side. Women, keep hands crossed in front.

Depending on the country, the proximity to each other may be important as well. If you’re unsure of what to do, the best advice I can give is to watch and learn. If you pay attention to the locals, you can pick up their techniques for a proper, professional greeting.

Even though most Japanese business people don’t expect you to know the formalities of their traditional greeting, it’s a wonderful way to show respect and charm your partner with a great first impression and act of respect.
#PSPinc #Blog #SmallBusiness #Marketing #BusinessEtiquette #GlobalEtiquette #InternationalBusiness #GlobalBusiness #BusinessPartners

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Make a Good First Impression on your International Business Partner

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My background is Japanese, so sometimes I’m astonished at how casual people are in a meeting with new business prospects. Take the business card exchange, for example. The most often-talked about scenario by Japanese people is when Americans sit down in a meeting and throw their business cards across the conference table. I’ve had the experience many times where we all grab a seat and throw our cards to the other side saying, “Here you go!”

In Japan, throwing things to others is a sign of disrespect. You would never throw food or money at someone, so don’t throw your business card either. For Japanese professionals, it’s seen as degrading and demeaning to the other person.

In Japan, you always use both hands to hand yours out, and you also receive someone else’s card with both hands. The name on your card should face toward them when handing it over, so they can read it easily, instead of seeing it upside down.

In Korea, you hand your card over with one hand, but put your other hand on the elbow to be polite. You will see the same thing when Korean people pour a beer.

After you receive a business card, don’t just stuff it in your pocket. Place it nicely on the conference table if you are in a formal meeting. Place them in the order of the people sitting across from your table.

In Japan, we go a step further and place the card of the highest-ranking person on top of our business card holder, as if it is a futon cushion for his/her business card.

These simple gestures differ from casual American interaction, but they are seen as an act of respecting your business peer. So why not make the extra effort if it leaves a lasting, positive impression on a potential business partner or client?
#PSPinc #Blog #SmallBusiness #Marketing #BusinessEtiquette #InternationalBusiness #GlobalBusiness #BusinessCards #BusinessPartners

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